Winter Break and Planning

After a long break from posting, I am back at least to say hello to everyone who reads my blog and hope you all are doing well.  My garden is at rest since fall.  Not much digging to do yet, but potatoes should be planted in March so I do have my pick axe and shovel ready.

Since I was blessed to make it to 70 years of age this January, I started thinking about how to make gardening easier for me, especially the digging and pick-axing part, so I rounded up eight empty feed tubs my daughter uses for her cattle. I drilled holes in the bottoms, put in a layer of small rocks and old wood pieces and will fill the rest with some organic garden soil.  Really looking forward to see how this works out and if I can make my containers produce healthy vegetables like you see in all those seed catalogs!

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As always, never giving up hope that this year will be a great year for an abundant vegetable harvest.  Haven’t had such a pleasure in several years, but this may be the one. Grasshopper plagues, drought, late killing frosts, and garden pests have really contributed to disappointments in gardening the last several years. But I will not give up. I really do appreciate all the people who can grow beautiful and healthy organic vegetables and I strive to be one of them. Learning how to do so never ends.

So what am I doing while awaiting the next planting time?  I’m enjoying looking at all the seed catalogs! What a fantastic array of vegetables God has created for our eating pleasure.  Getting orders ready for Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and Seeds from Italy.

Even in winter, the garden is a lovely place. I feed the birds there, take pictures of them, sit and read on warmer days, watch my little dogs play, and await every evening to see what kind of a sunset show there will be!

Blessings to you all.

The most common bird in my garden is the Mockingbird, Arkansas’s state bird. This one taken today as I was out with my 3 little dogs in the garden.

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A sunset show photo from last night over our pasture and round bales.

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Bluebirds and Brussels Sprouts

Two new things happened in the garden this spring!

Bluebirds made their home in the bluebird house which I had put up several years ago, but sparrows had always gotten in there first.  This spring bluebirds successfully nested in the house and are currently feeding their hungry little babies.  I’m hoping to get more photos of these lovely birds but here are two I got while watching them quietly from my chair under the nearby oak tree.

Mama bluebird bringing food to her babies.

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Done with feeding, now what? Probably going to get more food!

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The second new thing is a Brussels sprout plant is growing!

My husband and I love Brussels sprouts so I thought I’d try to grow some.  In the early fall 2015, I tucked a few seeds in the ground hoping they might grow, but doubting they would since I’d never grown them before and never have had any luck with cabbage family plants.  Amazingly one plant popped up and actually survived the winter temperatures and hard frosts.  As of today it is about 3 feet high! It is fun watching it grow and see where the little sprouts will appear.  It’s looking so good, I’m hoping we really get to eat some before any insects try to compete with us or spring storms crush the plant with high wind or hailstones.

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Have you ever seen a Brussels sprout plant flower? How pretty they are at the top of the plant now blooming.  Brussels sprouts are part of the cruciferae or mustard family, so known because of a 4-part flower in the shape of a cross.

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Seeds, Seeds, and More Seeds!

Today went off the last seed order (maybe) for this season.  As the snow was quickly melting in the morning sunshine today, I made out my seed order. What fun looking through a beautiful seed catalog and imagining a bountiful garden.  Soon the seeds will come in the mail.  How exciting!  I love seeds.  I love how they look, and the promise they hold.  One thing I haven’t done much of yet is saving seeds, but that is on my dream list.  Until I become a true seed saver, I do appreciate people like Jere and Emilee Gettles who founded Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.  They have been all over the world learning about vegetables, fruits and flowers and bringing all kinds of new varieties back to the United States to make available.  How else would I have gotten to try the Abu Rawan tomato? A beautiful red Iraqi tomato which did well in my garden.  Hopefully in the next few months I will be posting beautiful garden produce photos!

http://www.rareseeds.com

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Time to Enjoy Seed Catalogs

Last night we got about 2 inches of snow, so today was a nice day to enjoy looking through one of my favorite seed catalogs, Botanical Interests.  This company sells only non-GMO seeds, as well as many certified organic and heirloom seeds.  They produce a beautiful free catalog with seed tips, brief histories, planting tips and even a recipe or two.  Looking forward to planting some new flower varieties like lupine and a popular edible flower viola this year.  I appreciate all the businesses which are providing organic seeds and promote sustainable agriculture! I will share some more companies with which I do business in the next several days.  You can order a free catalog from Botanical Interests online here:  https://www.botanicalinterests.com/

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